During the early years of lobbying Congress for Transgender rights, the question raised by some legislators was: You are here looking for Federal legislative changes for the trans community when you have none (or precious little) at the state level. This statement rang very true and resulted in our working with Jessica Xavier, who was then Executive Director for It's Time America [ITA] and Penni Ashe Matz the Northeast Regional Director of ITS and dedicated founder of It's Time Massachusetts to create It's Time, Connecticut [ITCT]. ITCT focused, in conjunction with other state level advocacy groups to build a grassroots coalition of individuals and organizations focused to effecting social and legislative change for the trans community in Connecticut. The early days of ITCT were difficult and much of the advocacy was one on one advocacy for the numerous trans folks who contacted ITCT for assistance or advocacy on their behalf. In 2002, Connecticut held its first Transgender Day of Remembrance in Hartford and ITCT was the primary organizer behind this vigil. This vigil was co-sponsored by over twenty statewide LGBT organizations, attended by nearly 100 trans folks and allies in the small but warm chapel of the Metropolitan Community Church in Hartford.
Following the overwhelming success of this event, ITCT was transitioned into the Ct TransAdvocacy Coalition [CTAC]. Not long after the creation of CTAC some major milestones were recognized in Connecticut: CTAC in conjunction with the Hate Crime Network formed and subsequently passed a trans inclusive hate crime law in Connecticut, making Ct the fourth state in the nation to do so.
A successful action was done that resulted in the then Governor Rowland to reverse nearly a decade long stance of including Transgender (and Bisexual) in his PRIDE Day proclamation. In fact action resulted in the first truly inclusive Gubernatorial proclamation that recognized PRIDE day as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex PRIDE day in
Connecticut! CTAC in conjunction with Betsy Driver and Janet Green of Bodies Like Ours held a highly visible and effective demonstration regarding an Intersex Surgery that was planned to be performed at the CT Children's Medical Center in Hartford. The current CTAC Logo was designed by Reverend George A. Chien, pastor of the Hartford MCC church. He designed the current logo as part of the design for Connecticut's second annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. Ct TransAdvocacy is now officially a 501c(3) for we received our determination letter from the IRS on the same day the ordinance was passed in Hartford! The Transgender Lives Conference has become a significant event for TransAdvocacy and our communities, the 501c(3) is critical to ensure its continued growth and success.
Several Key Accomplishments
- CTAC is a member of the legislative LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network committee which was the first legislative LGBTQ committee in the nation established by law.
- We were a member of the coalition that worked to pass the change in the Birth Certificate law to allow the gender marker to be changed without surgery
- Worked with federal and state agencies and other non-profit organizations to train homeless shelters administrators and employees on how to make shelters safe for gender non-conforming individuals.In conjunction with the Ct Hate Crime Network passed legislation amending the Ct Hate Crime Statutes to include the protected categories: Gender Identity or Expression and Disability;
- In conjunction with the ctEquality passed legislation amending the Ct Anti-Discrimination Statutes to include the protected categories: Gender Identity or Expression and Disability
- As a member of the Safe School Coalition CTAC helped write the "Guidelines for Schools on Gender Identity and Expression" and worked to insure that the Anti-Bullying legislation law covered gender identity and expression.
- We are on a committee with other non-profits and state agencies working to create a better climate for the aging LGBT population.
- Created a survey to study of the transgender population in the Greater Hartford area for AIDS/HIV that was funded by Yale’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) Community Research Partnership Program. The program was managed by CTAC and the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective with help from the Institute for Community Research
- Successful Action Alert assuring a peace activist access to their T-shots;
- Supported and Helped Organize Intersex Demonstration with Bodies Like Ours at the Ct Children's Medical Center
- Coalition Action to secure inclusive PRIDE Day Proclamation;
- Established program, through training and advocacy, to provide housing and services for trans-women within a majority of Connecticut's DV Shelters;
- Conducted survey's and training with a number of Ct based homeless shelters;
- Worked with other organizations to pass an ordinance in Hartford for gender identity and expression protection:
- Created, in collaboration with the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective, two professionally moderated tran support groups;
- Held, in collaboration with the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective, a TransHealth Screening day;
- In conjunction with the Ct G&L film festival (Alternatives), held CTAC fundraiser for the Ct premiere of TransGeneration, followed by community talkback;
- In conjunction with several long time Ct gay/trans activists, produced and created the Documentary: "While Paris Was Burning, Hartford Sizzled", which premiered at the 2004 Ct LGBT/Queer film festival